At Eastern New Mexico Medical Center, interventional cardiologist Dr. Ashley Rivers now performs a minimally invasive procedure at the hospital to offer relief to patients who suffer from chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
What is CVI?
CVI is a condition that occurs when the venous wall and/or valves in the leg veins are not working effectively, making it difficult for blood to return to the heart from the legs. It is now widely known that in many patients the real problem is obstruction or blockages of the large veins in the pelvis and not actually the veins in the leg. These blockages are thought to be caused by compression of the pelvic veins by the overlying large arteries.
CVI occurs more frequently in women than in men. Women who have had more multiple pregnancies are at a higher risk.
If you have risk factors for CVI, you are more likely than other people to develop or already have the disease. The most important risk factors are:
- Blood clots in deep leg veins (deep vein thrombosis or DVT)
- Varicose veins or a family history of varicose veins
- Multiple pregnancies
- Being female
- Having leg swelling, discoloration or an ulcer of your lower leg
- Pain in your lower legs that occurs with walking
How is chronic venous insufficiency diagnosed and treated?
To diagnose CVI, Dr. Rivers will do a complete medical history and physical exam. During the exam, she will carefully examine your legs. Dr. Rivers may also chose to run a few simple and quick tests to eliminate other common causes of leg swelling. Once all other causes are ruled out, Dr. Rivers will schedule a procedure at Eastern New Mexico Medical Center.
The procedure is done in the cardiac cath laboratory under light sedation. A thin wire is passed from the leg vein up into the pelvis. Dr. Rivers first will perform an intra-vascular ultrasound on both sides of the pelvis to identify blockages. If blockages are found, Dr. Rivers will insert a balloon to open them. Stents will be placed inside the vein to prevent blockages from recurring. The procedure has very high success rates and recovery is immediate. Most patients go home two hours after the procedure is complete.
With the restoration of normal blood flow in the leg veins, patients will notice reduced pain and swelling in their legs shortly after the procedure. They will be able to enjoy walking without discomfort and skin ulcers will heal without coming back. Serious complications of CVI, like blood clots, are significantly reduced, as are the potential risks associated with them.
If you feel you may have CVI, call Dr. Rivers today at Cardiovascular Associates of Roswell at (575) 624-3278 to schedule an appointment.
Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Eastern New Mexico Medical Center
Meet Our Providers
Rivers, Ashley M., M.D.